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  • 2012 Range Rover Evoque Coupe

    Posted on July 10th, 2012 ninarussin

    Off-road brand steers towards city center

    By Nina Russin

    Range Rover Evoque Coupe

    In today’s market, niche automakers are finding it necessary to break new ground. By filling all of the customer’s needs within the dealership, the manufacturer builds volume and makes it more difficult for competitors to conquest existing owners.

    Range Rover, best known for its high-luxury off-road vehicles has targeted the luxury crossover segment with the Evoque, aimed at style-conscious urbanites. While Range Rover has long enjoyed popularity within the Hollywood set, the Evoque adds edgier styling, and a powertrain intended primarily for paved roads.

    The new crossover comes as both a coupe and five-door, with three grades: Pure, Prestige and Dynamic. The premium option package builds on the base vehicle with 19-inch chrome wheels, a blacked-out grille, surround camera system, blind spot monitoring and adaptive xenon headlamps. Inside the model gains a 17-speaker surround sound audio system, leather steering wheel, unique upholstery and door panels and hard drive navigation with voice command.

    Base price is $44,145 excluding the $850 destination charge. The premium option package adds $7900, while an adaptive suspension costs $1250. Other options include a black roof ($650); heated front seats, steering wheel, windshield and washer jets ($1000); unique headliner ($750); satellite and high-definition radio ($950); special exterior paint ($2500) and 20-inch chrome alloy wheels ($850). MSRP is $60,095.

    Keeping it in the family

    Range Rover Evoque Five-Door

    Although its styling seems more suited to Rodeo Drive than the depths of Belize, Range Rover gave the Evoque some fairly serious off-road capability. Land Rover’s terrain response system is standard, adjusting the suspension, throttle and braking for snow, mud, sand or paved surfaces.

    Long travel coil springs enable the Evoque to clear large obstacles, and as with all Range Rovers, the Evoque can ford two feet of water.

    Power comes from a turbocharged two-liter, four-cylinder direct injected engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Formula-style shift paddles enable the driver to choose gears manually.

    Styled to stand out

    Range Rover Evoque Five-Door

    Range Rover stylists wanted to make sure that their newest crossover wasn’t a wallflower. It’s hard to see an Evoque on the street without wanting to take a closer look. As someone with a graduate degree in art, I feel comfortable talking about design. In this case, I have to say that the exterior, while provocative, seems a bit disjointed.

    Despite its large wheel arches and cut lines in the hood, the wheels appear at odds with what is otherwise a very angular car. The honeycomb grille and exposed rear skid plate on the Premium model are a nod to more traditional Range Rovers. Unfortunately, neither works very well in a design that’s decidedly more hip hop than high desert.

    From a functional stance, the Evoque’s narrow greenhouse severely limits the driver’s peripheral vision. Blind spot monitoring and the surround rear camera are more of a necessity than a luxury. Yet as part of the premium package, they add 20 percent on top of the vehicle’s base sticker price.

    The interior is a completely different story. It’s bold, bright and luxurious, with elegant upholstery and an abundance of ambient light thanks to the standard panoramic sunroof. Center stack controls are intuitive to operate and easy to reach from either front seating position.

    The steering wheel and shift paddles are ergonomic, with redundant controls to minimize driver distraction. Seating is supportive but not excessively bolstered. Both the gauge cluster and center stack screen are easy to read in bright sunlight. The large glovebox and center console bin provide ample storage for front seat passengers.

    Turbocharged engine strives for enhanced fuel economy

    Range Rover Evoque Coupe

    Engineers used a turbocharged four-cylinder engine in lieu of Land Rover’s six-cylinder block in order to maximize gas mileage without compromising power. On the positive side, the engine is peppy and responsive, with plenty of low-end power for acceleration off the line.

    The six-speed automatic transmission is smooth but not mushy. Engineers wisely kept shift points on the high side to avoid flat spots between the gears. The transmission shifts later in sport mode, to give the Evoque more aggressive performance. Zero-to-sixty acceleration is 7.1 seconds according to manufacturer. My experience during the test drive would support that claim.

    The bad news is that small engines at some point produce diminishing returns when it comes to gas mileage. Beyond a certain weight, they become less efficient than larger blocks. Curb weight for the Evoque is about 3900 pounds. Gasoline and passengers add several hundred pounds on top of that. It’s a lot of mass for a two-liter engine to move off the line, especially with a high center of gravity.

    Although the EPA estimates fuel economy at 22 miles-per-gallon, I averaged about 16 miles-per-gallon on my 85-mile test drive, primarily on high-speed roads with no stop-and-go traffic.

    The adaptive suspension utilizes magneto-rheological fluid to adjust shock damping to the road surfaces. The system works in real time, and is essentially invisible to the driver. Driving the car hard on a two-lane road east of Phoenix, I was impressed by the suspension’s ability to keep the chassis flat through decreasing radius curves and pitchy hills.

    An electric power steering system is well tuned to the car, offering enough assist at low speeds for good maneuverability with good on-center response at speed. The turning circle with nineteen-inch wheels is just over 37 feet, making U turns a possibility on wider roads. Larger wheels might increase the turning circle.

    Engineers did a good job of isolating passengers from wind, road and engine noise, making it easy for both rows to converse or enjoy the surround-sound audio system.

    Four-wheel disc brakes stop the car in a firm, linear fashion.

    Expanded cargo space

    The Evoque’s rear seats fold flat to extend the cargo floor for longer items such as skis and snowboards. The Evoque meets our bicycle-friendly standards.

    Standard safety

    The Range Rover Evoque comes with front, side, side curtain and driver’s knee airbags, four-channel, all-terrain antilock braking, dynamic and roll stability control, hill start assist, hill descent control and trailer stability assist. The factory warranty includes 24-hour roadside assistance for four years or up to 50,000 miles.

    Range Rover builds the Evoque at its Halewood, UK assembly plant.

    Like: A stylish crossover with true off-road capability, and enough cargo capacity to accommodate a bicycle.

    Dislike: Poor visibility to the sides and rear due to the car’s narrow greenhouse.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Range Rover
    Model: Evoque Coupe
    Year: 2012
    Base price: $44,145
    As tested: $60,095
    Horsepower: 240 Hp
    Torque: 250 lbs.-ft.
    Zero-to-sixty: 7.1 seconds
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: Yes
    Towing: Yes
    Off-road: Yes
    Fuel economy: 18/28 mpg city/highway




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